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The concept of water filtration can be quite confusing to some especially when they are presented with various filtration methods and countless options of filtration systems to choose from.
America has one of the best water filtration facilities in the world, providing clean water to billions of homes throughout the country. Despite that, many people still question the safety of their tap water.
With the tap water’s drinkability in question, the next best thing to ensure people that they are consuming clean and safe water is using water filters. Having equipment that can filter the whole house’s water is very convenient.
Since you can avoid the extra expenditure of buying bottled water. Also, with the Covid-19 pandemic still on the rise, it’s advantageous to have your own equipment for cleaning water. You won’t need to go out of the house just to have clean water.
Two of the most commonly bought water filters today are the reverse osmosis water filter system and a built-in filter inside refrigerators. Although these two are very good methods in filtering out the harmful contaminants in the water, they differ in the filtration process.
Knowing the difference as well as the benefits that each of these methods can give to you and your family can help you decide what you should get for your home. Whether you choose an RO unit or fridge filters or both, this article will help you decide.
Typical Refrigerator Filters
A typical refrigerator uses a built-in activated carbon filter to eliminate impurities in the water. Along with water filter pitchers and portable water filters, refrigerator filters use the same concept of filtering out contaminants in the water we consume.
The standard process of an activated carbon water filter is that it traps the chemicals and particles on the surface of the filter, eliminating the bad taste and odor they produce when they react with water.
The downside with most fridge filters is that most of them don’t really meet the qualifications of the guidelines and standards set by the NSF/ANSI Standard 58. This is because some of these fridge water filters do not go under intensive quality control testing to support their claims of eliminating contaminants.
Also, activated carbon water filters can’t eliminate heavy metals like lead, arsenic and etc. It is also ineffective against harmful pathogens like viruses and bacteria. It only removes bare minimum impurities in tap water.
Reverse Osmosis System Filtration
Reverse osmosis water filtration uses pressure to filter out the contaminants in the water. Water pressure forces tap water to pass through a semipermeable membrane leaving behind contaminants and other larger particles on one side.
Impurities like heavy metals (lead, arsenic, mercury and etc.), minerals, organic herbicides, and pesticides are eliminated once the water carrying all of these passes through the membrane.
This method can consist of more than 5 stages depending on the number of filters used in filtering the water. But most of the RO water filters have 4 main stages:
- Sediment Filter (Pre-filter)
- Activated Carbon Filter (Pre-filter)
- Semipermeable Membrane
- Activated Carbon Post-filter
Older versions of RO filters have not incorporated UV Light which is a new method in eliminating bacteria and viruses from tap water. That is the only downside of RO water filters; their inability to eliminate the harmful pathogens.
Activated Carbon Filtration vs. Reverse Osmosis Systems
Reverse osmosis systems and activated carbon filters are both really great water filters and both do a great job in filtering contaminants out of the water. But before you can conclude which type of filtration method is better for your home or business, it’s important to know the pros and cons of each method.
Activated Carbon Filters are great for single-use. For people who just need clean water for everyday use, an activated carbon filter would be enough to give you what you need. Whether it’s clean water with the minimal content of TDS or water free from any contaminants for showering or washing clothes and plates, a carbon filter can provide that.
Reverse osmosis is great for heavy-duty water filtration. If you’re looking for an intensive water filtration method, a reverse osmosis system would be the best choice. Since it can filter out a lot of impurities and heavy metals. The only downside is that it also removes important minerals that can promote good health.
Comparison of the Contaminants Removed By Both Methods
Here is a summary of all the types of contaminants that can and can’t be removed using these methods. Both methods are not perfect since they can’t remove 100% of the contaminants. But both methods do a great job of producing clean water. This info graphic will help you decide which water filter you’d like to invest in.
Important Factors to Consider When Investing in Water Filters
Choosing the right filtration system to invest in can be tricky. With various features that are cutting-edge and available in the market, you’d probably have a hard time choosing from equally great filtration systems.
Here are four important factors to consider.
Water Quality and Filters
The first thing you should consider is your needs in terms of clean water. Once you have that laid out, do some research about the type of filter that produces the quality of water you want to have.
Also, you should take into account your geographic location since this says a lot about the contaminants that are present in your tap water. If your city is known to have problems with microorganisms or minerals, that’s something you’d also want to take note of.
Filter Capacity and Water Pressure
In line with your water needs, it is also important to consider the amount of water you’d need for daily consumption. If you have a big family or you’re running a really big business, you might have to choose a method that produces a lot of water and can be stored.
Water pressure is also an important factor to consider. If the filter is unable to hold a higher pressure of water, then it will also affect the water output.
Frequency of Filter Replacement
The frequency of changing a fridge filter is the same as those in reverse osmosis filter systems. But the difference is that you get a better quality of water filtered using an RO filter than a refrigerator filter.
Pre- and post-filters (activated carbon) are scheduled to be replaced after 6 to 12 months. If you forget to replace these filters, your water filter will also lose the ability to produce clean water. It’s important to remember to shut off the inline valve when changing the RO filter.
Space and Overall Appearance
The last thing you will need to consider is the space for these filters and their aesthetics. If you’re planning to buy a filtration system or just a refrigerator with a filter, you will need to think about the space you have at home or at work.
The placement of this equipment is important since you wouldn’t want it to look unruly. When considering an RO system, you can select one with an RO tank to hold the water or a tankless system. Also, for some people aesthetics are important. Would it look good if we had this in our home? Does it compliment the design that we already have?
There are a lot of options that you can find to fit your space and aesthetics requirements.
Installing Reverse Osmosis Filter Behind Refrigerator
Activated carbon filters are well-known for not being stand-alone filtration methods. In order for them to be really effective, they are best paired with methods like UV light and reverse osmosis.
Installing a reverse osmosis water filtration system on your refrigerator dispenser adds more security to your drinking water. By attaching the RO system to your refrigerator’s water valve, you can run RO-filtered water into your refrigerator’s ice and water dispenser.
With that said, RO-filtered water can also be used to make ice cubes. Combining both methods to have a cleaner and safer water to drink has never been this easy. If you need more assurance for clean water, invest in a reverse osmosis system today.